How to Build a Marketplace App Like Thumbtack: A Definitive Guide

In the world of successful online marketplaces, Thumbtack needs no introduction. Started in 2008, this professional services platform is worth more than $1 billion now, with its revenues crossing $100 million. From the start-up perspective, its upward business graph seems nothing short of a dream for every entrepreneur. 

But how did the company reach here? What made Thumbtack, an online marketplace connecting consumers and local professionals, such a success? Let’s find out.   

The Hows and Whys of Thumbtack’s Success  

When Thumbtack was launched, there was practically no marketplace offering an end-to-end platform for booking professional services. Its closest competitors were directory listing websites, such as Yelp and Angie’s List. 

Thumbtack filled that gap with its unique marketplace idea by covering the majority of the services spectrum. From a cleaner or a wellness professional to an interior designer, a DJ or a landscaper, consumers could hire professionals for possibly any job through Thumbtack. Across every region of the United States, a huge customer base was opened up for the app as it focused on solving users’ problems. 

Build Thumbtack Like Marketplace App


At the same time, it offered professionals a tool to post attractive listings on Craigslist, growing its base of pros stronger. 

The Business Model of Thumbtack 

In the beginning, Thumbtack tried the conventional transaction-based model. It failed as the company found it difficult to take it ahead after the two parties met. Also, it was quite a challenge to control each transaction for such a diverse category of services. 

Hence, it switched to a subscription-based model that charged service providers a fixed amount in exchange for greater visibility online and Craigslist integration. This model found many takers and proved to be a success. 

The problem, though, persisted as the fee was relatively less compared to the pool of leads Thumbtack fetched. That made the company adopt its present lead fee model, a perfect fit. It charges professionals for the leads they receive on the platform.   

If this success story has impressed you enough to venture out in the marketplace app niche, it’s time to know how. 

Steps to Develop an Application Like Thumbtack 

  • Ideate and verify the scope

So, you have the idea for an on-demand services marketplace like Thumbtack. But is it viable? Will users care to download and use it? And more importantly, do users need your app at all?

Answers to these questions lie in in-depth research and analysis of your app idea through thorough market research, user surveys, interviews, storyboards, and user personas. These will help determine whether your idea is aligned with the current market needs.

Build Marketplace App like Thumbtack


  • Conduct competitor analysis

Knowing where your competitors stand in the market provides you with insights into the latest market trends, technologies, and business models. Moreover, you also learn a great deal about your target users’ behaviour and ever-changing requirements. All these elements together will help you craft a solid strategy to strengthen your own market position.

  • Finalize the business model

To keep your marketplace app going, you will need a robust monetisation policy that keeps the money flowing. We already explored the three types of business models Thumbtack tried: transaction-based, subscription-based, and lead-based. You, however, don’t have to follow in its footsteps. Analysing your target users and business scope will help you select a practical business model that complements your value proposition.

  • Hire a professional app developer/company

After getting all the basics, from scope to business model,  sorted on paper, it’s time to bring your marketplace app to life. And no, you don’t have to start taking programming lessons! All you have to do is hire a top app development company or a professional developer who has experience in building this type of app. Also, ensure their offerings and understanding of your requirements are in line with your expectations. That would save you from spending sleepless nights trying to unravel the ideal app features, functions, UI, and performance. 

How to Launch Your Marketplace App like Thumbtack


Test it out with an MVP

A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) enables you to gauge your target users’ reactions to your marketplace app. An MVP will have all the necessary features with the use of limited resources, including costs. It will not only help validate your product idea but also improve it with early user feedback. The result? Your final app will be a lot more efficient. 

Why Should You Invest in Building Such a Business? 

The on-demand home services marketplace during 2021-25 is projected to witness a massive growth of $4730 billion as per Technavio’s report. The same study suggests 2021 will see its year-over-year growth rate reach 37%. 

Besides, a Thumbtack-like app is convenient and affordable for consumers and a lucrative market for expansion for vendors and owners. 

All these factors and stats point to a consistently growing market, making it a wise investment decision for both established and budding entrepreneurs.

Planning to Launch Your Own Home Services App Like Thumbtack? Watch Live Demo Now:

June 15, 2021



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